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Greetings Lifehouse!
For those who don't know me,
For those who don't know me, my name is Benjamin Hankin. Our family has enjoyed being a partner here for just over 2 years and we are so thankful God has called us to serve here with this wonderful body of believers.
For those who don't know me, my name is Benjamin Hankin. Our family has enjoyed being a partner here for just over 2 years and we are so thankful God has called us to serve here with this wonderful body of believers.
For those who don't know me, my name is Benjamin Hankin. Our family has enjoyed being a partner here for just over 2 years and we are so thankful God has called us to serve here with this wonderful body of believers.
For those who don't know me, my name is Benjamin Hankin. Our family has enjoyed being a partner here for just over 2 years and we are so thankful God has called us to serve here with this wonderful body of believers.
With Mark being away on vacation, I was given a promotion for the week from children's ministry and Team Kid Jr, to what we call over you all over here across that hallway, Team Adult. Sorry there are no snacks or drinks being handed out. And if your looking for a craft, as we normally do over there, afterwards I can show you how to turn your program into a paper airplane or something.
With Mark being away on vacation, I was given a promotion for the week from children's ministry and Team Kid Jr, to what we call over you all over here across that hallway, Team Adult. Sorry there are no snacks or drinks being handed out. And if your looking for a craft, as we normally do over there, afterwards I can show you how to turn your program into a paper airplane or something.
With Mark being away on vacation, I was given a promotion for the week from children's ministry and Team Kid Jr, to what we call over you all over here across that hallway, Team Adult. Sorry there are no snacks or drinks being handed out. And if your looking for a craft, as we normally do over there, afterwards I can show you how to turn your program into a paper airplane or something.
my name is Benjamin Hankin.
With Mark being away on vacation, I was given a promotion for the week from children's ministry and Team Kid Jr, to what we call over you all over here across that hallway, Team Adult. Sorry there are no snacks or drinks being handed out. And if your looking for a craft, as we normally do over there, afterwards I can show you how to turn your program into a paper airplane or something.
I want to invite you to open your Bibles to Genesis chapter 15, where this morning we will be looking at the whole of this amazing and important chapter. It is here that we see a God who was quiet, is now about to get extremely personal again with His creation.
I want to invite you to open your Bibles to Genesis chapter 15, where this morning we will be looking at the whole of this amazing and important chapter. It is here that we see a God who was quiet, is now about to get extremely personal again with His creation.
I want to invite you to open your Bibles to Genesis chapter 15, where this morning we will be looking at the whole of this amazing and important chapter. It is here that we see a God who was quiet, is now about to get extremely personal again with His creation.
Our family has enjoyed being a partner here
I want to invite you to open your Bibles to Genesis chapter 15, where this morning we will be looking at the whole of this amazing and important chapter. It is here that we see a God who was quiet, is now about to get extremely personal again with His creation.
-----Lets Pray----
-----Lets Pray----
-----Lets Pray----
-----Lets Pray----
for just over 2 years
So lets dive in! Unfortunately we are not going very far, we have these three words right off the start, “After these things”. We as an audience reading need to ask the very simple question, after what things?
and we are so thankful God has called us
So lets dive in! Unfortunately we are not going very far, we have these three words right off the start, “After these things”. We as an audience reading need to ask the very simple question, after what things?
So lets dive in! Unfortunately we are not going very far, we have these three words right off the start, “After these things”. We as an audience reading need to ask the very simple question, after what things?
So lets dive in! Unfortunately we are not going very far, we have these three words right off the start, “After these things”. We as an audience reading need to ask the very simple question, after what things?
To appreciate where Abram is at during the beginning of this passage, we need to take a look back before moving forward. And in the interest of time I will give the super fast cliff notes version since we have a lot to cover today. In Chapter 12 and 13 God spoke to Abram and made promises to him. Make a nation of him, give him the land that he sees, bless those who bless him, curse those who curse him. Then we come to 14:1 Roughly 10 years after the first contact from God. These 5 kings from the area around the dead sea, say that they want to rebel, these 4 kings from Mesopotamia utterly obliterate the area. All of this would have been a footnote in history if not for the words “and they took Lot”. Abram gets word, saddles up 318 men who are like his private green berets, grabs his allies and they ride off like a old western posse to the rescue. They dont just win, one version translates the word defeats as “slaughters” the armies of the kings. They take Lot, his whole house/family, and all the loot and head back. In response to this victory as he is heading heading home, he meets two kings. In response to the great victory that they had, Abram celebrates giving a tithe to the Lord through Melchizedek, while denying the self seeking King of Sodom a foothold in his life.
To appreciate where
To appreciate where Abram is at during the beginning of this passage, we need to take a look back before moving forward. And in the interest of time I will give the super fast cliff notes version since we have a lot to cover today. In Chapter 12 and 13 God spoke to Abram and made promises to him. Make a nation of him, give him the land that he sees, bless those who bless him, curse those who curse him. Then we come to 14:1 Roughly 10 years after the first contact from God. These 5 kings from the area around the dead sea, say that they want to rebel, these 4 kings from Mesopotamia utterly obliterate the area. All of this would have been a footnote in history if not for the words “and they took Lot”. Abram gets word, saddles up 318 men who are like his private green berets, grabs his allies and they ride off like a old western posse to the rescue. They dont just win, one version translates the word defeats as “slaughters” the armies of the kings. They take Lot, his whole house/family, and all the loot and head back. In response to this victory as he is heading heading home, he meets two kings. In response to the great victory that they had, Abram celebrates giving a tithe to the Lord through Melchizedek, while denying the self seeking King of Sodom a foothold in his life.
to serve here with this wonderful
To appreciate where Abram is at during the beginning of this passage, we need to take a look back before moving forward. And in the interest of time I will give the super fast cliff notes version since we have a lot to cover today. In Chapter 12 and 13 God spoke to Abram and made promises to him. Make a nation of him, give him the land that he sees, bless those who bless him, curse those who curse him. Then we come to 14:1 Roughly 10 years after the first contact from God. These 5 kings from the area around the dead sea, say that they want to rebel, these 4 kings from Mesopotamia utterly obliterate the area. All of this would have been a footnote in history if not for the words “and they took Lot”. Abram gets word, saddles up 318 men who are like his private green berets, grabs his allies and they ride off like a old western posse to the rescue. They dont just win, one version translates the word defeats as “slaughters” the armies of the kings. They take Lot, his whole house/family, and all the loot and head back. In response to this victory as he is heading heading home, he meets two kings. In response to the great victory that they had, Abram celebrates giving a tithe to the Lord through Melchizedek, while denying the self seeking King of Sodom a foothold in his life.
Abram is at during the beginning of this passage, we need to take a look back before moving forward. And in the interest of time I will give the super fast cliff
notes version since we have a lot to cover today.
In Chapter 12 and 13 God spoke to Abram and made promises to him. Make a nation of him, give him the land that
he sees, bless those who bless him, curse those who curse him. Then we come to 14:1 Roughly 10 years after the first contact from God. These 5 kings from the area around the dead sea, say that they want to rebel, these 4 kings from Mesopotamia utterly obliterate the area. All of this would have been a footnote in history if not for the words “and they took Lot”. Abram gets word, saddles up 318 men who are like his private green berets, grabs his allies and they ride off like a old western posse to the rescue. They dont just win, one version translates the word defeats as “slaughters” the armies of the kings. They take Lot, his whole house/family, and all the loot and head back. In response to this victory as he is heading heading home, he meets two kings. In response to the great victory that they had, Abram celebrates giving a tithe to the Lord through Melchizedek, while denying the self seeking King of Sodom a foothold in his life.
body of believers.
So from there we move on to our passage chapter 15. where we see a beautiful and powerful interaction between God and Abram. During this interaction we will see these three things
So from there we move on to our passage chapter 15. where we see a beautiful and powerful interaction between God and Abram. During this interaction we will see these three things
So from there we move on to our passage chapter 15. where we see a beautiful and powerful interaction between God and Abram. During this interaction we will see these three things
So from there we move on to our passage chapter 15. where we see a beautiful and powerful interaction between God and Abram. During this interaction we will see these three things
God’s Covenant, it is here that God is going to set forth what He is going to do for Abram
God’s Covenant, it is here that God is going to set forth what He is going to do for Abram
God’s Covenant, it is here that God is going to set forth what He is going to do for Abram
With Mark being away on vacation,
God’s Covenant, it is here that God is going to set forth what He is going to do for Abram
I was given a promotion for the week
God’s Confirmation, here we will see God not just making promises, but Him confirming to Abram that He will be the one to fulfill every part of those promises.
God’s Confirmation, here we will see God not just making promises, but Him confirming to Abram that He will be the one to fulfill every part of those promises.
God’s Confirmation, here we will see God not just making promises, but Him confirming to Abram that He will be the one to fulfill every part of those promises.
God’s Confirmation, here we will see God not just making promises, but Him confirming to Abram that He will be the one to fulfill every part of those promises.
God’s Covenant Continues, here we are going to see how we today are apart of this great family that God is bringing unto Himself, How we today are apart of this promise to Abram.
God’s Covenant Continues, here we are going to see how we today are apart of this great family that God is bringing unto Himself, How we today are apart of this promise to Abram.
God’s Covenant Continues, here we are going to see how we today are apart of this great family that God is bringing unto Himself, How we today are apart of this promise to Abram.
from children's ministry and Team Kid Jr,
God’s Covenant Continues, here we are going to see how we today are apart of this great family that God is bringing unto Himself, How we today are apart of this promise to Abram.
I. The first point is that we will see God’s Covenant. These are the promises that He is making to Abram. First off we are going to see Him address Abrams physical safety, followed by his line of succession, and then lastly God address his future home.
I. The first point is that we will see God’s Covenant. These are the promises that He is making to Abram. First off we are going to see Him address Abrams physical safety, followed by his line of succession, and then lastly God address his future home.
to what we call over you all over here
I. The first point is that we will see God’s Covenant. These are the promises that He is making to Abram. First off we are going to see Him address Abrams physical safety, followed by his line of succession, and then lastly God address his future home.
I. The first point is that we will see God’s Covenant. These are the promises that He is making to Abram. First off we are going to see Him address Abrams physical safety, followed by his line of succession, and then lastly God address his future home.
----So Read continue in verse 1,
----So Read continue in verse 1,
----So Read continue in verse 1,
----So Read continue in verse 1,
across that hallway, and thats Team Adult.
Sorry there are no snacks or drinks
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
One aspect of this passage that is amazing, is the number of firsts that we see happen in this passage. This is the first time we see the words, “Fear not”, the first time for “The Word of the Lord came to..” and “also the first for God to say that He will be a “shield” for someone. While this may be the first time seeing them, as you see from the slides, it certainly is not the last.
One aspect of this passage that is amazing, is the number of firsts that we see happen in this passage. This is the first time we see the words, “Fear not”, the first time for “The Word of the Lord came to..” and “also the first for God to say that He will be a “shield” for someone. While this may be the first time seeing them, as you see from the slides, it certainly is not the last.
One aspect of this passage that is amazing, is the number of firsts that we see happen in this passage. This is the first time we see the words, “Fear not”, the first time for “The Word of the Lord came to..” and “also the first for God to say that He will be a “shield” for someone. While this may be the first time seeing them, as you see from the slides, it certainly is not the last.
One aspect of this passage that is amazing, is the number of firsts that we see happen in this passage. This is the first time we see the words, “Fear not”, the first time for “The Word of the Lord came to..” and “also the first for God to say that He will be a “shield” for someone. While this may be the first time seeing them, as you see from the slides, it certainly is not the last.
being handed out.
And if your looking for a craft,
As for this verse, if you think about it, it's kinda crazy that God would start off that way in His conversation with Abram. Abram is coming off this major victory! He is coming off of the great victory over the kings, rescued his family, stood up for God in the face of a self seeking king, joyfully gave of his riches to a priest king as a tribute to God. The last thing that we would ever expect to hear from God or anyone are the words “fear not”. But God knows His people, and being that He created us, He certainly knows us far better than we know ourself. God knows that when Abram returns home and when things settle down, he is going to begin thinking about the safety and security of the people, he may be thinking about the possible revenge that will come from the 4 kings whom he defeated. Questions like: Will they come back, what are we going to do? The human side of him may also begin thinking about the great sum of money and spoils that were handed over. Remember he is nothing but a house that is traveling in another's land, rendering him essentially homeless. What and why God feels the need to tell him to not fear, the Bible does not state.But one thing that is certain is this. All too often when we have mountain top experiences in serving or meeting with Him, we need to be on guard because on the other side of that mountain top there is a valley. And it is during these points when we are most susceptible to attacks from the enemy. And so I can almost see God wanting to head off that valley before Abram ever hits it.
As for this verse, if you think about it, it's kinda crazy that God would start off that way in His conversation with Abram. Abram is coming off this major victory! He is coming off of the great victory over the kings, rescued his family, stood up for God in the face of a self seeking king, joyfully gave of his riches to a priest king as a tribute to God. The last thing that we would ever expect to hear from God or anyone are the words “fear not”. But God knows His people, and being that He created us, He certainly knows us far better than we know ourself. God knows that when Abram returns home and when things settle down, he is going to begin thinking about the safety and security of the people, he may be thinking about the possible revenge that will come from the 4 kings whom he defeated. Questions like: Will they come back, what are we going to do? The human side of him may also begin thinking about the great sum of money and spoils that were handed over. Remember he is nothing but a house that is traveling in another's land, rendering him essentially homeless. What and why he God feels the need to tell him to not fear, the Bible does not state.
As for this verse, if you think about it, it's kinda crazy that God would start off that way in His conversation with Abram. Abram is coming off this major victory! He is coming off of the great victory over the kings, rescued his family, stood up for God in the face of a self seeking king, joyfully gave of his riches to a priest king as a tribute to God. The last thing that we would ever expect to hear from God or anyone are the words “fear not”. But God knows His people, and being that He created us, He certainly knows us far better than we know ourself. God knows that when Abram returns home and when things settle down, he is going to begin thinking about the safety and security of the people, he may be thinking about the possible revenge that will come from the 4 kings whom he defeated. Questions like: Will they come back, what are we going to do? The human side of him may also begin thinking about the great sum of money and spoils that were handed over. Remember he is nothing but a house that is traveling in another's land, rendering him essentially homeless. What and why he God feels the need to tell him to not fear, the Bible does not state.But one thing that is certain is this. All too often when we have mountain top experiences in serving or meeting with Him, we need to be on guard because on the other side of that mountain top there is a valley. And it is during these points when we are most susceptible to attacks from the enemy. And so I can almost see God wanting to head off that valley before Abram ever hits it.
As for this verse, if you think about it, it's kinda crazy that God would start off that way in His conversation with Abram. Abram is coming off this major victory! He is coming off of the great victory over the kings, rescued his family, stood up for God in the face of a self seeking king, joyfully gave of his riches to a priest king as a tribute to God. The last thing that we would ever expect to hear from God or anyone are the words “fear not”. But God knows His people, and being that He created us, He certainly knows us far better than we know ourself. God knows that when Abram returns home and when things settle down, he is going to begin thinking about the safety and security of the people, he may be thinking about the possible revenge that will come from the 4 kings whom he defeated. Questions like: Will they come back, what are we going to do? The human side of him may also begin thinking about the great sum of money and spoils that were handed over. Remember he is nothing but a house that is traveling in another's land, rendering him essentially homeless. What and why he God feels the need to tell him to not fear, the Bible does not state.But one thing that is certain is this. All too often when we have mountain top experiences in serving or meeting with Him, we need to be on guard because on the other side of that mountain top there is a valley. And it is during these points when we are most susceptible to attacks from the enemy. And so I can almost see God wanting to head off that valley before Abram ever hits it.
----Lets read, verse 2 and 3
But one thing that is certain is this. All too often when we have mountain top experiences in serving or meeting with Him, we need to be on guard because on the other side of that mountain top there is a valley. And it is during these points when we are most susceptible to attacks from the enemy. And so I can almost see God wanting to head off that valley before Abram ever hits it.
----Lets read, verse 2 and 3
as we normally do over there,
----Lets read, verse 2 and 3
But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir."
But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir."
But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir."
----Lets read, verse 2 and 3
afterwards I can show you
And Abram in his response shows not one of unbelief, but Abram shows himself to be at a point of doubt. For him, the problem of a promise of a great reward or anything else that God has for him means nothing if there is no one to continue it. Abram looks at his age and sees he is long past the years of childbearing. Abram does a very human thing, and “offer God a way out” he is going to try and help God out as if HE needed it. And for us today looking at this passage, I want you all to think about something. This is an extremely rough place to be in life. You may have felt God’s leading at some point, started to follow and then end up waiting with no answer. You have been praying for something for a while, and find that there is no answer or reply. You know that God is clearly guiding your steps in a certain area, but there is no end in sight to where He is leading. It is this spot where our doubts can turn to fear and anxiety. Its here where if we are not careful and look to God for the answers, they will turn to unbelief. I want to share with you this from writer Henry Drummond: “Christ never failed to distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is I can't believe; unbelief is I won't believe. Doubt is honesty, unbelief is obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light; unbelief is being content with darkness.” Keep looking to the one who is light and keep trusting that He is faithful to guide you, allow Him to be your strength during these periods of unrest that occur in our lives.
And Abram in his response shows not one of unbelief, but Abram shows himself to be at a point of doubt. For him, the problem of a promise of a great reward or anything else that God has for him means nothing if there is no one to continue it. Abram looks at his age and sees he is long past the years of childbearing. Abram does a very human thing, and “offer God a way out” he is going to try and help God out as if HE needed it. And for us today looking at this passage, I want you all to think about something. This is an extremely rough place to be in life. You may have felt God’s leading at some point, started to follow and then end up waiting with no answer. You have been praying for something for a while, and find that there is no answer or reply. You know that God is clearly guiding your steps in a certain area, but there is no end in sight to where He is leading. It is this spot where our doubts can turn to fear and anxiety. Its here where if we are not careful and look to God for the answers, they will turn to unbelief. I want to share with you this from writer Henry Drummond: “Christ never failed to distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is I can't believe; unbelief is I won't believe. Doubt is honesty, unbelief is obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light; unbelief is being content with darkness.” Keep looking to the one who is light and keep trusting that He is faithful to guide you, allow Him to be your strength during these periods of unrest that occur in our lives.
how to turn your program
But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir."
And Abram in his response shows not one of unbelief, but Abram shows himself to be at a point of doubt. For him, the problem of a promise of a great reward or anything else that God has for him means nothing if there is no one to continue it. Abram looks at his age and sees he is long past the years of childbearing. Abram does a very human thing, and “offer God a way out” he is going to try and help God out as if HE needed it. And for us today looking at this passage, I want you all to think about something. This is an extremely rough place to be in life. You may have felt God’s leading at some point, started to follow and then end up waiting with no answer. You have been praying for something for a while, and find that there is no answer or reply. You know that God is clearly guiding your steps in a certain area, but there is no end in sight to where He is leading. It is this spot where our doubts can turn to fear and anxiety. Its here where if we are not careful and look to God for the answers, they will turn to unbelief. I want to share with you this from writer Henry Drummond: “Christ never failed to distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is I can't believe; unbelief is I won't believe. Doubt is honesty, unbelief is obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light; unbelief is being content with darkness.” Keep looking to the one who is light and keep trusting that He is faithful to guide you, allow Him to be your strength during these periods of unrest that occur in our lives.
As we look back at Abram, we the reader see him turn to the world for an answer to this problem. He offers up to God a solution, the culture of the day allowed for a couple with no suitable heir to adopt into their family someone who was in their house and continue the line through them. Thats why we see him offer up Eliezer to God as an option.
As we look back at Abram, we the reader see him turn to the world for an answer to this problem. He offers up to God a solution, the culture of the day allowed for a couple with no suitable heir to adopt into their family someone who was in their house and continue the line through them. Thats why we see him offer up Eliezer to God as an option.
And Abram in his response shows not one of unbelief, but of where I was recently, Abram shows himself to be at a point of doubt. Abram does a very human thing and “offer God a way out”, as if HE needed it. And for us I want to think about something here. This is a very rough place to be as a Christian today, for us if we are not careful our doubt can lead us down a dark road. We might look at what God is promising or telling us in His plans, and we don't see immediate answers to prayers. So we question, and when we question we are obviously not going to look to God since He is not replying, lets see what the world has to say. And that is exactly what we see here. Abram offers God this out since he recognizes how advanced in his years he and Sarai are, and so lets do what others in the culture are doing and lets see if God wants me to adopt Eliezer and have the promise continue that way.
into a paper airplane or something.
As we look back at Abram, we the reader see him turn to the world for an answer to this problem. He offers up to God a solution, the culture of the day allowed for a couple with no suitable heir to adopt into their family someone who was in their house and continue the line through them. Thats why we see him offer up Eliezer to God as an option.
So God responds.
So God responds.
I want to invite you to open your Bibles
So God responds.
So God responds.
to Genesis chapter 15,
And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
where this morning we will be looking
We have to give God a lot of credit here. The amount of patience He shows in dealing with those who serve Him is amazing. His reply is very simple and practical. He meets Abram where he is at and tells him it is not going to be Eliezer, and reassures him that he will provide an heir of his own line. And God tells him to open his eyes and look up. I have to imagine that He did not just mean the starlit sky, but look up to God. Because if I am Abram at this point, the rest of my life I now have a practical reminder from God every evening that God is going to provide. My eyes during the night would not leave that sky. And I feel in all of this, God is simply telling Abram this… Abram, you could never realistically count them, you only look up and see them as something beautiful in the sky. But Abram I created them, I know each star by name, they are precious to me. And Abram, each star that represents one of your descendants, I know them too. I knew them in their mother's womb, I even knew them by name before I laid the foundations of the world.
We have to give God a lot of credit here. The amount of patience He shows in dealing with those who serve Him is amazing. His reply is very simple and practical. He meets Abram where he is at and tells him it is not going to be Eliezer, and reassures him that he will provide an heir of his own line. And God tells him to open his eyes and look up. I have to imagine that He did not just mean the starlit sky, but look up to God. Because if I am Abram at this point, the rest of my life I no have a practical reminder from God every evening that God is going to provide. My eyes during the night would not leave that sky. And I feel in all of this, God is simply telling Abram this… Abram, you could never realistically count them, you only look up and see them as something beautiful in the sky. But Abram I created them, I know each star by name, they are precious to me. And Abram, each star that represents one of your descendants, I know them too. I knew them in their mother's womb, I even knew them by name before I laid the foundations of the world.
Remember He just addressed Abrams safety, and to Abram, his safety and this great reward mean nothing, if there is no one to carry it on. So God is going to speak to this concern of his with one of the most stunning displays of imagery in the bible. Abram was told previously in chapter 13 that his descendants would be as numerous as the dust but it looks like God wants to restate it in this moment. So God tells him to simply look up. There is no Philly, no NY, no DC to pollute with light. He is seeing a display that would could only imagine. And to put this in perspective. What in fact he is seeing and the promise given. In our galaxy there are 2-300 billion stars and in the observable universe through the Hubble telescope there are roughly 2 trillion galaxies. I am not a math major, but that is several levels above the term “a lot”. God is simply telling Abram this… Abram, you could never realistically count them, you only look up and see them as something beautiful in the sky. But Abram I created them, I know each star by name, they are precious to me. And Abram, each star that represents one of your descendants, I know them too. I knew them in their mother's womb, I even knew them by name before I laid the foundations of the world.
We have to give God a lot of credit here. The amount of patience He shows in dealing with those who serve Him is amazing. His reply is very simple and practical. He meets Abram where he is at and tells him it is not going to be Eliezer, and reassures him that he will provide an heir of his own line. And God tells him to open his eyes and look up. I have to imagine that He did not just mean the starlit sky, but look up to God. Because if I am Abram at this point, the rest of my life I no have a practical reminder from God every evening that God is going to provide. My eyes during the night would not leave that sky. And I feel in all of this, God is simply telling Abram this… Abram, you could never realistically count them, you only look up and see them as something beautiful in the sky. But Abram I created them, I know each star by name, they are precious to me. And Abram, each star that represents one of your descendants, I know them too. I knew them in their mother's womb, I even knew them by name before I laid the foundations of the world.
And with this, there were no words from our forefather. Not from his mouth, he spoke from his heart.
At this moment, there were no words from our forefather. Not from his mouth, he spoke from his heart.
At this moment, there were no words from our forefather. Not from his mouth, he spoke from his heart.
And with this, there were no words from our forefather. Not from his mouth, he spoke from his heart.
at the whole of this amazing
And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
and important chapter.
If this were after the time of Christ on the cross, we would use terms like “he accepted Christ into his heart” or that he is a “Believer” now. And here is the something for us today to look back on. For Abram none of his previous actions were considered to have been counted as righteous. It was not his faithfully leaving Haran at God's call, it was not the heroic act involving Lot, it was not his tithe to Melchizedek who served God, and it was not the altars that he built for God. It was his faith, it was him simply believing that God is who He claims to be. Paul writes in
If this were after the time of Christ on the cross, we would use terms like “he accepted Christ into his heart” or that he is a “Believer” now. And here is the something for us today to look back on. For Abram none of his previous actions were considered to have been counted as righteous. It was not his faithfully leaving Haran at Gods call, it was not the heroic act involving Lot, it was not his tithe to Melchizedek who served God, and it was not the altars that he built for God. It was his faith, it was him simply believing that God is who He claims to be. Paul writes in
If this were after the time of Christ on the cross, we would use terms like “he accepted Christ into his heart” or that he is a “Believer” now. And here is the something for us today to look back on. For Abram none of his previous actions were considered to have been counted as righteous. It was not his faithfully leaving Haran at Gods call, it was not the heroic act involving Lot, it was not his tithe to Melchizedek who served God, and it was not the altars that he built for God. It was his faith, it was him simply believing that God is who He claims to be. Paul writes in
If this were after the time of Christ on the cross, we would use terms like “he accepted Christ into his heart” or that he is a “Believer” now. And here is the something for us today to look back on. For Abram none of his previous actions were considered to have been counted as righteous. It was not his faithfully leaving Haran at God's call, it was not the heroic act involving Lot, it was not his tithe to Melchizedek who served God, and it was not the altars that he built for God. It was his faith, it was him simply believing that God is who He claims to be. Paul writes in
It is here that we see a God who was quiet,
is now about to get
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."
Abram’s faith is what drew him close to God, not any act that was previously done or in the years after. God back then, and even now today. He doesn't want our acts, He wants our hearts. Let our actions be driven by our heart for Him after.
Abram’s faith is what drew him close to God, not any act that was previously done or in the years after. God back then, and even now today. He doesn't want our acts, He wants our hearts. Let our actions be driven by our heart for Him after.
Abram’s faith is what drew him close to God, not any act that was previously done or in the years after. God back then, and even now today. He doesn't want our acts, He wants our hearts. Let our actions be driven by our heart for Him..
extremely personal again with His creation.
Abram’s faith is what drew him close to God, not any act that was previously done or in the years after. God back then, and even now today. He doesn't want our acts, He wants our hearts. Let our actions be driven by our heart for Him after.
-----Lets Pray----
And here we arrive at the last part of the promise or covenant that God is setting up. Simply put, God reminds him of who He is and tells him that the land will be his. And Abrams response shows just how much his heart has changed in verse 8.
And here we arrive at the last part of the promise or covenant that God is setting up.
And here we arrive at the last part of the promise or covenant that God is setting up.
And here we arrive at the last part of the promise or covenant that God is setting up. Simply put, God reminds him of who He is and tells him that the land will be his. And Abrams response shows just how much his heart has changed in verse 8.
Verse 7 and Abrams reply in 8:
But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?" See that is not unbelief, that is not doubt, that is Abram saying “God I know you are able to do what you say, but I just dont know how you are going to do it.” In a sense he is kind of asking for a sign from God.
Verse 7 and Abrams reply in 8:
But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?" See that is not unbelief, that is not doubt, that is Abram saying “God I know you are able to do what you say, but I just dont know how you are going to do it.” In a sense he is kind of asking for a sign from God.
So lets dive in!
2. This is where we enter into the second point of today, that a covenant set in place is needing to be confirmed by God. Abram and in this part is only asked to prepare the area. And for us reading in todays understanding, may seem a brutal! But remember, there were no lawyers to draw up contracts, and no wax seals with ring imprints like during the medieval times, no signet rings stamping approval as you would in Rome. They needed a way to essentially “sign on the dotted line”. And so when God told Abram to gather the animals, he knew exactly what was coming. In “cutting a covenant” as it was known, animals would be split in half, and placed evenly with a path down the middle and the blood would pool come down to the path and both parties would walk down the middle reciting the covenant that they were to keep. And in doing so they were stating that if I failed in keeping my end of the deal, let what was done to the animals be done to me. So Abram faithful sets it up and keeps watch over it until the evening hour when the covenant would normally take place.
2. This is where we enter into the second point of today, that a covenant set in place is needing to be confirmed by God. Abram and in this part is only asked to prepare the area. And for us reading in todays understanding, may seem a brutal! But remember, there were no lawyers to draw up contracts, and no wax seals with ring imprints like during the medieval times, no signet rings stamping approval as you would in Rome. They needed a way to essentially “sign on the dotted line”. And so when God told Abram to gather the animals, he knew exactly what was coming. In “cutting a covenant” as it was known, animals would be split in half, and placed evenly with a path down the middle and the blood would pool come down to the path and both parties would walk down the middle reciting the covenant that they were to keep. And in doing so they were stating that if I failed in keeping my end of the deal, let what was done to the animals be done to me. So Abram faithful sets it up and keeps watch over it until the evening hour when the covenant would normally take place.
Well unfortunately we are not going very far,
And he said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess." But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?"
And he said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess." But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?"
What a change in this man. Simply put, God promises to provide a home for this wandering family and Abram has moved on from the point of doubt to a place where he is essentially saying “God I know you are able to do what you say, but I just don't know how you are going to do it.” And in a way, he is also asking for a sign from God.
So God puts him to sleep, and depending on your version, Abram is overcome with a deep and dreadful fear, or a dreadful darkness. Essentially he has come into the presence of the Lord and like all people who enter there feel that weight upon them. We see Isaiah in overcome with the same emotions just as Moses in was afraid and hid his face. This is a holy reverent fear that we see Abram overcome with. Matthew Henry writes “Holy fear prepares the soul for holy joy; the spirit of bondage makes way for the spirit of adoption. God wounds first, and then heals; humbles first, and then lifts up.” God from verse 13-16 and 18-21 restates and clarifies exactly what is to happen to the people that will come after Abram. Abram is told he will pass after a good long life. He also is promised a land, but that the land will not be given to them until a lot of hardships pass. God promises 400 years of affliction for his lineage as well as traveling in a land that is not theirs. The thing to take from this part is that God’s promises are not always an easy. There are hard roads that we have to walk when we follow and believe in God. James in essentially guarantees that we will see trials in our life. But the thing to remember when we go down the hard roads as we live out God’s promise in our lives is that it is far better to be on the hard and tough road with God, than the easy one in the world. Look no further than Christ’s words recorded in MAtthew 7:13 and 14.
we have these three words
What a change in this man. Simply put, God promises to provide a home for this wandering family and Abram has moved on from the point of doubt to a place where he is essentially saying “God I know you are able to do what you say, but I just don't know how you are going to do it.” And in a way, he is also asking for a sign from God.
So God puts him to sleep, and depending on your version, Abram is overcome with a deep and dreadful fear, or a dreadful darkness. Essentially he has come into the presence of the Lord and like all people who enter there feel that weight upon them. We see Isaiah in overcome with the same emotions just as Moses in was afraid and hid his face. This is a holy reverent fear that we see Abram overcome with. Matthew Henry writes “Holy fear prepares the soul for holy joy; the spirit of bondage makes way for the spirit of adoption. God wounds first, and then heals; humbles first, and then lifts up.” God from verse 13-16 and 18-21 restates and clarifies exactly what is to happen to the people that will come after Abram. Abram is told he will pass after a good long life. He also is promised a land, but that the land will not be given to them until a lot of hardships pass. God promises 400 years of affliction for his lineage as well as traveling in a land that is not theirs. The thing to take from this part is that God’s promises are not always an easy. There are hard roads that we have to walk when we follow and believe in God. James in essentially guarantees that we will see trials in our life. But the thing to remember when we go down the hard roads as we live out God’s promise in our lives is that it is far better to be on the hard and tough road with God, than the easy one in the world. Look no further than Christ’s words recorded in MAtthew 7:13 and 14.
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
2. This is where we enter into the second point of today, that a covenant set in place by God, needs to be confirmed by God.
right off the start, “After these things”.
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
2. This is where we enter into the second point of today, that a covenant set in place by God, needs to be confirmed by God.
Lets read the remainder:
We as an audience reading
Lets read the remainder:
And it is at this moment we see one of the most beautiful displays of love in the Bible. And if we did not understand what we are reading we might miss it. In verse 17, with Abram most likely on his knees and in a position of being in the fear and awe of God, watches God in the form of a holy purifying fire pass down through the path…. Alone. This is God alone saying that He will take on the full weight of the covenant, this is God saying to Abram that he has no part in this other than to continue following and believing in Him who sealed the deal. This is God saying to Abram, let what was done to these animals be done to me the Holy, Mighty, All Powerful God Lord Master over all Things, Creator of the world if I fail in my keeping this covenant with you Abram. It was in this moment, that a God who had been silent and distant from His creation for roughly 430 years, became personally involved with His people and began the process of bringing them back to Him.
And it is at this moment we see one of the most beautiful displays of love in the Bible. And if we did not understand what we are reading we might miss it. In verse 17, with Abram most likely on his knees and in a position of being in the fear and awe of God, watches God in the form of a holy purifying fire pass down through the path…. Alone. This is God alone saying that He will take on the full weight of the covenant, this is God saying to Abram that he has no part in this other than to continue following and believing in Him who sealed the deal. This is God saying to Abram, let what was done to these animals be done to me the Holy, Mighty, All Powerful God Lord Master over all Things, Creator of the world if I fail in my keeping this covenant with you Abram. It was in this moment, that a God who had been silent and distant from His creation for roughly 430 years, became personally involved with His people and began the process of bringing them back to Him.
He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the LORD said to Abram, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites."
3. As we enter into the final point here today, we sitting here in the year 2018, cannot fall into the trap or line of thinking that the Old Testament is something distant from us. When you think about it timewise, yes it is, in terms of our faith , this passage is as near to us as yesterday. And this is not just a covenant that the physical line of Abraham are a part of. This was the start of a God drawing a people who were destitute in their sin with no hope of redemption and destined for separation from Him for all of eternity. God Himself was building something and it was not upon us doing, saying, going, serving. It was not built upon the shaky foundations that man is able to built, no this is the solid unchanging rock that God builds upon. We read in that this was the type of foundation that Abram sought out.
He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the LORD said to Abram, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites."
3. As we enter into the final point here today, we sitting here in the year 2018, cannot fall into the trap or line of thinking that the Old Testament is something distant from us. When you think about it timewise, yes it is, in terms of our faith , this passage is as near to us as yesterday. And this is not just a covenant that the physical line of Abraham are a part of. This was the start of a God drawing a people who were destitute in their sin with no hope of redemption and destined for separation from Him for all of eternity. God Himself was building something and it was not upon us doing, saying, going, serving. It was not built upon the shaky foundations that man is able to built, no this is the solid unchanging rock that God builds upon. We read in that this was the type of foundation that Abram sought out.
need to ask the very simple question,
God is ready to “seal the deal”, sing on the dotted line, make it official, throw in whatever other terms you want tol. But remember, there were no lawyers to draw up contracts, and no wax seals with ring imprints like during the medieval times, no signet rings stamping approval as you would in Rome. People during this period needed a way to make it official and binding. There was no paper or any other writing and they needed a way to make it official, or in this case as it was called, cut a covenant. In “cutting a covenant”, animals would be split in half, and placed evenly on two sides, with a path down the middle. The blood would pool in the center area and come down the path. Then both parties would walk down the middle reciting the covenant that they were to keep. In doing so they were stating that if I failed in keeping my end of the deal, let what was done to the animals be done to me. And so when God told Abram to gather the animals, he knew exactly what was coming. Abram faithfully sets it up and keeps watch over it until the evening hour when the covenant would normally take place.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
Abram and in this part is only asked to prepare the area. And for us reading in todays understanding, may seem a brutal! But remember, there were no lawyers to draw up contracts, and no wax seals with ring imprints like during the medieval times, no signet rings stamping approval as you would in Rome. They needed a way to essentially “sign on the dotted line”. And so when God told Abram to gather the animals, he knew exactly what was coming. In “cutting a covenant” as it was known, animals would be split in half, and placed evenly with a path down the middle and the blood would pool come down to the path and both parties would walk down the middle reciting the covenant that they were to keep. And in doing so they were stating that if I failed in keeping my end of the deal, let what was done to the animals be done to me. So Abram faithful sets it up and keeps watch over it until the evening hour when the covenant would normally take place.
after what things?
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
To fully appreciate where Abram heart and mind
So God puts him to sleep, and depending on your version, Abram is overcome with a deep and dreadful fear, or a dreadful darkness. Essentially he has come into the presence of the Lord and like all people who enter there feel that weight upon them. We see Isaiah in overcome with the same emotions just as Moses in was afraid and hid his face. This is a holy reverent fear that we see Abram overcome with. Matthew Henry writes “Holy fear prepares the soul for holy joy; the spirit of bondage makes way for the spirit of adoption. God wounds first, and then heals; humbles first, and then lifts up.” God from verse 13-16 and 18-21 restates and clarifies exactly what is to happen to the people that will come after Abram. Abram is told he will pass after a good long life. He also is promised a land, but that the land will not be given to them until a lot of hardships pass. God promises 400 years of affliction for his lineage as well as traveling in a land that is not theirs. The thing to take from this part is that God’s promises are not always an easy. There are hard roads that we have to walk when we follow and believe in God. James in essentially guarantees that we will see trials in our life. But the thing to remember when we go down the hard roads as we live out God’s promise in our lives is that it is far better to be on the hard and tough road with God, than the easy one in the world. Look no further than Christ’s words recorded in MAtthew 7:13 and 14.
Listen, Abraham is not a perfect man. He certainly had his flaws, we saw today that he had doubts, he most certainly had fears, he ran when the things got rough previously, and he will mess up again. But what makes him different and an example to us today is that through it all. He never let go of the faith that he had in his God. He placed his faith in the person of God and built himself up on the foundations of the Holy One. And for us, the very same God who revealed Himself to Abram calling out as “I am your shield” and “I am the Lord”, the very same God who generations later revealed Himself to Moses as “I AM”, is today revealing Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. “I am the one true vine”, “I am the way”, “I am the truth”, “ and “I am the life”. Just as Abram heard God and believed, we too need to see how God is showing Himself and do the same. When we read and see God’s “I am” statements, for us as believers we need to follow them with our “I believe” statement. And when we truly believe in and follow Christ, we find ourselves counted among the stars in the sky and part of this promise given to Abram.
Listen, Abraham is not a perfect man. He certainly had his flaws, we saw today that he had doubts, he most certainly had fears, he ran when the things got rough previously, and he will mess up again. But what makes him different and an example to us today is that through it all. He never let go of the faith that he had in his God. He placed his faith in the person of God and built himself up on the foundations of the Holy One. And for us, the very same God who revealed Himself to Abram calling out as “I am your shield” and “I am the Lord”, the very same God who generations later revealed Himself to Moses as “I AM”, is today revealing Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. “I am the one true vine”, “I am the way”, “I am the truth”, “ and “I am the life”. Just as Abram heard God and believed, we too need to see how God is showing Himself and do the same. When we read and see God’s “I am” statements, for us as believers we need to follow them with our “I believe” statement. And when we truly believe in and follow Christ, we find ourselves counted among the stars in the sky and part of this promise given to Abram.
So God puts him to sleep, and depending on your version, Abram is overcome with a deep and dreadful fear or a dreadful darkness. He has come into the presence of the Lord and like all people who enter that place, they feel weight upon themselves. We see Isaiah in “Woe is me, for I am undone!” As he is overcome with the same emotion, just as Moses in was afraid and hid his face. This is a holy reverent fear that we see Abram overcome with. Matthew Henry writes “Holy fear prepares the soul for holy joy; the spirit of bondage makes way for the spirit of adoption. God wounds first, and then heals; humbles first, and then lifts up.” And it is during this period when Abram is overcome, that God is going to lay it all out for him in verses 13-16 and 18-21, what is going to happen to Abram’s line.. Abram is told he himself will pass after a good long life. He also is promised a land, but that the land will not be given to them until a lot of hardships pass such as affliction and servanthood. God promises 400 years of traveling in a land that is not theirs. Not all a happy promise is it. The thing to take from this part is that God’s promises are not always an easy. There are hard roads that we have to walk when we follow and believe in God. Scripture is very clear that following God is not easy. Verses like , , and essentially guarantees that we will see trials in our life. But the thing to remember when we go down the hard roads as we live out God’s promise in our lives is that it is far better to be on the hard and tough road with God, than the easy one in the world. Look no further than Christ’s words recorded in and 14.
are at during the beginning of this passage,
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
The Apostle Paul writes in
The Apostle Paul writes in
just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
And it is at this moment we see one of the most beautiful displays of love in the Bible. And if we did not understand what we are reading we might miss it. In verse 17, with Abram most likely on his knees and in a position of being in the fear and awe of God, watches God in the form of a holy purifying fire pass down through the path…. Alone. This is God alone saying that He will take on the full weight of the covenant, this is God saying to Abram that he has no part in this other than to continue following and believing in Him who sealed the deal. This is God saying to Abram, let what was done to these animals be done to me the Holy, Mighty, All Powerful God Lord Master over all Things, Creator of the world if I fail in my keeping this covenant with you Abram. It was in this moment, that a God who had been silent and distant from His creation for roughly 430 years, became personally involved with His people and began the process of bringing them back to Him.
we need to take a look back before moving forward.
And it is at this moment we see one of the most beautiful displays of love in the Bible. And if we did not understand what we are reading we might miss it. In verse 17, with Abram most likely on his knees and in a position of being in the fear and awe of God, watches God in the form of a holy purifying fire pass down through the path…. Alone. This is God alone saying that He will take on the full weight of the covenant, this is God saying to Abram that he has no part in this other than to continue following and believing in Him who sealed the deal. This is God saying to Abram, let what was done to these animals be done to me the Holy, Mighty, All Powerful God Lord Master over all Things, Creator of the world if I fail in my keeping this covenant with you Abram. It was in this moment, that a God who had been silent and distant from His creation for roughly 430 years, became personally involved with His people and began the process of bringing them back to Him.
just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
And in the interest of time
In , Paul continues about our relationship to Abram through Christ.
3. As we enter into the final point here today, we sitting here in the year 2018, cannot fall into the trap or line of thinking that the Old Testament is something distant from us. When you think about it timewise, yes it is, in terms of our faith , this passage is as near to us as yesterday. And this is not just a covenant that the physical line of Abraham are a part of. This was the start of a God drawing a people who were destitute in their sin with no hope of redemption and destined for separation from Him for all of eternity. God Himself was building something and it was not upon us doing, saying, going, serving. It was not built upon the shaky foundations that man is able to built, no this is the solid unchanging rock that God builds upon. We read in that this was the type of foundation that Abram sought out.
3. As we enter into the final point here today, we sitting here in the year 2018, cannot fall into the trap or line of thinking that the Old Testament is something distant from us. When you think about it timewise, yes it is, in terms of our faith , this passage is as near to us as yesterday. And this is not just a covenant that the physical line of Abraham are a part of. This was the start of a God drawing a people who were destitute in their sin with no hope of redemption and destined for separation from Him for all of eternity. God Himself was building something and it was not upon us doing, saying, going, serving. It was not built upon the shaky foundations that man is able to built, no this is the solid unchanging rock that God builds upon. We read in that this was the type of foundation that Abram sought out.
In , Paul continues about our relationship to Abram through Christ.
I will give the super fast cliff notes version
But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
Listen, Abraham is not a perfect man. He certainly had his flaws, we saw today that he had doubts, he most certainly had fears, he ran when the things got rough previously, and he will mess up again. But what makes him different and an example to us today is that through it all. He never let go of the faith that he had in his God. He placed his faith in the person of God and built himself up on the foundations of the Holy One. And for us, the very same God who revealed Himself to Abram calling out as “I am your shield” and “I am the Lord”, the very same God who generations later revealed Himself to Moses as “I AM”, is today revealing Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. “I am the one true vine”, “I am the way”, “I am the truth”, “ and “I am the life”. Just as Abram heard God and believed, we too need to see how God is showing Himself and do the same. When we read and see God’s “I am” statements, for us as believers we need to follow them with our “I believe” statement. And when we truly believe in and follow Christ, we find ourselves counted among the stars in the sky and part of this promise given to Abram.
since we have a lot to cover today.
The very same God who was willing to take the full brunt weight of the covenant with Abram, the very same God who said to Abram this is my unconditional love for you, I am going to be real and personal. I am going to guide and care for you. I am not expecting you to do anything other than be faithful and follow Me, I am going to bear this weight and let what was done to these animals be done unto me if I fail in seeing my promises to you fulfilled. That is the very same God who 2000 years ago made it clear that the only true path to salvation lay through the Son as He revealed Himself saying “I am the way”. God is drawing people back into a personal relationship with Him. Our salvation and place in the family of God, in much the same way as Abram, is not dependant on you trying to earn your way into it. And if you think you need to get your act straight, clean yourself up, or prepare yourself prior to accepting Christ, read . Apart from the Gospel message, we could not now nor never do anything that would endear us or to God or get us ready. We are a sin depraved people with the Gospel message permeating through our whole being. That's why the God who took the oath and went down the blood path that night, is the very same God who sent His Son to hang on the cross this time shedding His blood. All so mankind could fully be welcomed into a personal and loving relationship with Him. Christ’s shed blood on the cross opened the door for a multitude to be welcomed into promise that was given to Abraham that day. And because of the promise, and the shed blood, the Word of the Lord no longer needs to come to people as we read. The Word of the Lord now walked and talked with people in the form of JEsus Christ. The Word of the Lord no longer needs to come to people, because the Word of the Lord now lives in each and every person who calls upon the name of God and accepts Christ into their life!
The very same God who was willing to take the full brunt weight of the covenant with Abram, the very same God who said to Abram this is my unconditional love for you, I am going to be real and personal. I am going to guide and care for you. I am not expecting you to do anything other than be faithful and follow Me, I am going to bear this weight and let what was done to these animals be done unto me if I fail in seeing my promises to you fulfilled. That is the very same God who 2000 years ago made it clear that the only true path to salvation lay through the Son as He revealed Himself saying “I am the way”. God is drawing people back into a personal relationship with Him. Our salvation and place in the family of God, in much the same way as Abram, is not dependant on you trying to earn your way into it. And if you think you need to get your act straight, clean yourself up, or prepare yourself prior to accepting Christ, read . Apart from the Gospel message, we could not now nor never do anything that would endear us or to God or get us ready. We are a sin depraved people with the Gospel message permeating through our whole being. That's why the God who took the oath and went down the blood path that night, is the very same God who sent His Son to hang on the cross this time shedding His blood. All so mankind could fully be welcomed into a personal and loving relationship with Him. Christ’s shed blood on the cross opened the door for a multitude to be welcomed into promise that was given to Abraham that day. And because of the promise, and the shed blood, the Word of the Lord no longer needs to come to people as we read. The Word of the Lord now walked and talked with people in the form of JEsus Christ. The Word of the Lord no longer needs to come to people, because the Word of the Lord now lives in each and every person who calls upon the name of God and accepts Christ into their life!
Listen, Abraham is not a perfect man. He certainly had his flaws, we saw today that he had doubts, he most certainly had fears, he ran when the things got rough previously, and he will mess up again. But what makes him different and an example to us today is that through it all. He never let go of the faith that he had in his God. He placed his faith in the person of God and built himself up on the foundations of the Holy One. And for us, the very same God who revealed Himself to Abram calling out as “I am your shield” and “I am the Lord”, the very same God who generations later revealed Himself to Moses as “I AM”, is today revealing Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. “I am the one true vine”, “I am the way”, “I am the truth”, “ and “I am the life”. Just as Abram heard God and believed, we too need to see how God is showing Himself and do the same. When we read and see God’s “I am” statements, for us as believers we need to follow them with our “I believe” statement. And when we truly believe in and follow Christ, we find ourselves counted among the stars in the sky and part of this promise given to Abram.
As we close our time in the Word and move to a time where we reflect upon this message and respond, I want to share two last passages of Scripture with you. The first coming from Christ’s brother James in chapter 2:23
The Apostle Paul writes in
The Apostle Paul writes in
As we close our time in the Word and move to a time where we reflect upon this message and respond, I want to share two last passages of Scripture with you. The first coming from Christ’s brother James in chapter 2:23
In Chapter 12 and 13 God spoke to Abram
just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
"Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"—and he was called a friend of God.
and made promises to him.
just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
"Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"—and he was called a friend of God.
In , Paul continues about our relationship to Abram through Christ.
In , Paul continues about our relationship to Abram through Christ.
And the second from Paul in ,
Make a nation of him,
And the second from Paul in ,
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
give him the land that he sees,
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
The very same God who was willing to take full responsibility for the covenant with Abram, the very same God who said to Abram this is my unconditional love for you, I am going to be real and personal. I am going to guide and care for you. I am not expecting you to do anything other than be faithful and follow Me, I am going to bear this weight and let what was done to these animals be done unto me if I fail in seeing my promises to you fulfilled. That is the very same God who 2000 years ago made it clear that the only true path to salvation lay through the Son as He revealed Himself saying “I am the way”. God is drawing people back into a personal relationship with Him. Our salvation and place in the family of God, in much the same way as Abram, is not dependant on you trying to earn your way into it. And if you think you need to get your act straight, clean yourself up, or prepare yourself prior to accepting Christ, read . Paul In these verses remind us just how far gone we truly were. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” My dear brothers and sisters, Apart from the Gospel message, we could not now nor never do anything that would endear us or to God or get us ready. We are a sin depraved people without the Gospel message flowing through our whole being. That's why the God who took the oath and went down the blood path that night, is the very same God who sent His Son to hang on the cross. This time not walking on the blood of animals to seal the covenant, but shedding His. All so mankind could fully be welcomed into a personal and loving relationship with Him. Christ’s shed blood on the cross opened the door for a multitude to be welcomed into promise that was given to Abraham that day. And because of the promise, and the shed blood, the Word of the Lord no longer needs to come to people as we read. The Word of the Lord now walked and talked with people in the form of Jesus Christ. The Word of the Lord no longer needs to come to people, because the Word of the Lord now lives in each and every person who calls upon the name of God and accepts Christ into their life!
bless those who bless him,
You see, when Abram accepted what God was doing and believed in Him fully, as James writes, he was called a friend of God. When we take the message of the cross and the full forgiveness of sins that comes through accepting that Christ died and rose again for all mankind, and apply it to our hearts and lives. We are not called a friend of God, we are considered far greater than that, we are called sons and daughters of the most High God. We are not friend, but family adopted into His family and heir to the promise given.
You see, when Abram accepted what God was doing and believed in Him fully, as James writes, he was called a friend of God. When we take the message of the cross and the full forgiveness of sins that comes through accepting that Christ died and rose again for all mankind, and apply it to our hearts and lives. We are not called a friend of God, we are considered far greater than that, we are called sons and daughters of the most High God. We are not friend, but family adopted into His family and heir to the promise given.
The very same God who was willing to take the full brunt weight of the covenant with Abram, the very same God who said to Abram this is my unconditional love for you, I am going to be real and personal. I am going to guide and care for you. I am not expecting you to do anything other than be faithful and follow Me, I am going to bear this weight and let what was done to these animals be done unto me if I fail in seeing my promises to you fulfilled. That is the very same God who 2000 years ago made it clear that the only true path to salvation lay through the Son as He revealed Himself saying “I am the way”. God is drawing people back into a personal relationship with Him. Our salvation and place in the family of God, in much the same way as Abram, is not dependant on you trying to earn your way into it. And if you think you need to get your act straight, clean yourself up, or prepare yourself prior to accepting Christ, read . Apart from the Gospel message, we could not now nor never do anything that would endear us or to God or get us ready. We are a sin depraved people with the Gospel message permeating through our whole being. That's why the God who took the oath and went down the blood path that night, is the very same God who sent His Son to hang on the cross this time shedding His blood. All so mankind could fully be welcomed into a personal and loving relationship with Him. Christ’s shed blood on the cross opened the door for a multitude to be welcomed into promise that was given to Abraham that day. And because of the promise, and the shed blood, the Word of the Lord no longer needs to come to people as we read. The Word of the Lord now walked and talked with people in the form of JEsus Christ. The Word of the Lord no longer needs to come to people, because the Word of the Lord now lives in each and every person who calls upon the name of God and accepts Christ into their life!
Time of INVITATION!
As we close our time in the Word and move to a time where we reflect upon this message and respond, I want to share two last passages of Scripture with you. The first coming from Christ’s brother James in chapter 2:23
curse those who curse him.
Time of INVITATION!
As we close our time in the Word and move to a time where we reflect upon this message and respond, I want to share two last passages of Scripture with you. The first coming from Christ’s brother James in chapter 2:23
Then we come to 14:1.
"Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"—and he was called a friend of God.
"Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"—and he was called a friend of God.
And the second from Paul in ,
Roughly 10 years after the first contact from God.
And the second from Paul in ,
These 5 kings from the area around the dead sea,
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.
You see, when Abram accepted what God was doing and believed in Him fully, as James writes, he was called a friend of God. When we take the message of the cross and the full forgiveness of sins that comes through accepting that Christ died and rose again for all mankind, and apply it to our hearts and lives. We are not called a friend of God, we are considered far greater than that, we are called sons and daughters of the most High God. We are not friend, but family adopted into His family and heir to the promise given.
say that they want to rebel,
You see, when Abram accepted what God was doing and believed in Him fully, as James writes, he was called a friend of God. When we take the message of the cross and the full forgiveness of sins that comes through accepting that Christ died and rose again for all mankind, and apply it to our hearts and lives. We are not called a friend of God, we are considered far greater than that, we are called sons and daughters of God the Most High. We are not friend, but family adopted into His family and heir to the promise given.
Time of INVITATION!
Time of INVITATION!
And these 4 kings from Mesopotamia
utterly obliterate the area.
All of this would have been a footnote in history
if not for the words “and they took Lot”.
Abram gets word, saddles up 318 men
who are like his private green berets,
grabs his allies and they ride off
like a old western posse to the rescue.
They dont just win,
one version translates the word defeats
as “slaughters” the armies of the kings.
They take Lot, his whole house/family,
and all the loot and head back.
As he is heading heading home,
he meets two kings.
And in response to the great victory
that they had, Abram celebrates
giving a tithe to the Lord through Melchizedek,
while denying the self seeking King of Sodom
a foothold in his life.
So from there we move on to our passage
chapter 15.
where we see a beautiful and powerful
interaction between God and Abram.
During this interaction we will see these three things
God’s Covenant, it is here that God is going to set forth what He is going to do for Abram
God’s Confirmation, here we will see God not just making promises, but Him confirming to Abram that He will be the one to fulfill every part of those promises.
God’s Covenant Continues, here we are going to see how we today are apart of this great family that God is bringing unto Himself, How we today are apart of this promise to Abram.
I. The first point is that we will see God’s Covenant.
These are the promises that
He is making to Abram.
First off we are going to see
Him address Abrams physical safety,
followed by his line of succession,
and then lastly God address his future home.
----So Read continue in verse 1,
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
One aspect of this passage
that is amazing,
is the number of firsts that we see
happen in this passage.
This is the first about 70 times
we see the words, “Fear not”,
the first of 280 times we read
“The Word of the Lord came to..”
and “also the first for God to say
that He will be a “shield” for someone.
While this may be the first time seeing them,
it certainly is not the last.
As for this verse,
if you think about it,
it's kinda crazy that God
would start off that way
in His conversation with Abram.
Abram is coming off this major victory!
He is coming off of the great victory
over the kings, rescued his family,
stood up for God in the face
of a self seeking king,
joyfully gave of his riches
to a priest king as a tribute to God.
The last thing that we would ever
expect to hear from God or
Anyone at this point
are the words “fear not”.
But God knows His people,
and being that He created us,
He certainly knows us far
better than we know ourself.
God knows that when Abram
returns home and when things settle down,
he is going to begin thinking
about the safety and security of his people,
he may be thinking about
the possible revenge that will come
from the 4 kings whom he defeated.
Questions like:
Will they come back?
what are we going to do?
The human side of him
may also begin thinking
about the great sum of money
and spoils that were handed over.
Remember he is nothing but a house
that is traveling in another's land at this moment
rendering him essentially homeless.
What and why God feels the need
to tell him to not fear,
the Bible does not state.
But one thing that is certain is this.
All too often when we have
mountain top experiences in serving
or meeting with Him,
we need to be on guard
because on the other side of that
mountain top there is a valley.
And it is during these points
when we are most susceptible to attacks
from the enemy.
And so here I can almost
see God wanting to head off
that valley before Abram ever hits it.
----Lets read, verse 2 and 3
But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir."
And Abram in his response shows not one of unbelief,
but Abram shows himself to be at a point of doubt.
For him, the problem of a promise
of a great reward or anything else that God
has for him means nothing
if there is no one to continue it.
Abram looks at his age as well as Sarai’s
and sees they are long past the years of childbearing.
Abram does a very human thing,
and “offer God a way out”
he is going to try and help God out,
as if HE needed it.
And for us today looking at this passage,
I want you all to think about something.
This is an extremely rough place to be in life.
You may have felt God’s leading at some point,
started to follow and then end up waiting
with no answer.
You have been praying for something for a while,
and find that there is no answer or reply.
You know that God is clearly guiding your steps
in a certain area,
but there is no end in sight
to where He is leading.
It is this spot where our doubts
can turn to fear and anxiety.
Its here where if we are not careful
and look to God for the answers,
they will turn to unbelief.
I want to share with you this from writer Henry Drummond:
“Christ never failed to distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is I can't believe; unbelief is I won't believe. Doubt is honesty, unbelief is obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light; unbelief is being content with darkness.”
Keep looking to the one who is light
and keep trusting that He is faithful to guide you,
allow Him to be your strength
during these periods of unrest
that occur in our lives.
As we look back at Abram,
we the reader see him turn to the world
for an answer to this problem.
He offers up to God a solution,
the culture of the day allowed
for a couple with no suitable
heir to adopt into their family
someone who was in their house
and continue the line through them.
Thats why we see him offer up Eliezer to God as an option.
So God responds.
And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
We have to give God a lot of credit here.
The amount of patience He shows
in dealing with those who serve
Him is amazing.
His reply is very simple and practical.
He meets Abram where he is at
and tells him it is not going to be Eliezer,
and reassures him that he will provide
an heir of his own line.
And God tells him to open his eyes and look up.
I have to imagine that He did not
just mean the starlit sky, but look up to God.
Because if I am Abram at this point,
the rest of my life I now have a
practical reminder from God
every evening that God is going to provide.
My eyes during the night
would not leave that sky.
And I feel in all of this,
God is simply telling Abram this…
Abram, you could never realistically count them,
you only look up and see them as
something beautiful in the sky.
But Abram I created them,
I know each star by name,
they are precious to me.
And Abram, each star up in that sky
represents one of your descendants,
I know them too.
I knew them in their mother's womb,
I even knew them by name
before I laid the foundations of the world.
At this moment, there were no words from our forefather.
Not from his mouth, he spoke from his heart.
We read in verse 6:
And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
If this were after the time of Christ on the cross,
we would use terms like
“he accepted Christ into his heart”
or that he is a “Believer” now.
And here is the something for us today
to look back on.
For Abram none of his previous actions
were considered to have been
counted as righteous.
It was not his faithfully leaving Haran at God's call,
it was not the heroic act involving Lot,
it was not his tithe to Melchizedek who served God,
and it was not the altars that he built for God.
It was his faith, it was him simply believing
that God is who He claims to be.
Paul writes in
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."
Abram’s faith is what drew him close to God,
not any act that was previously done
or in the years after.
God back then, and even now today.
He doesn't want our acts,
He wants our hearts.
Let our actions be driven by our heart for Him..
-Pause-
And here we arrive at the last part of the promise or covenant that God is setting up.
Verse 7 and Abrams reply in 8:
And he said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess." But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?"
What a change we see in this man.
Simply put... God promises to provide a home
for this wandering family
and Abram has moved on
from the point of doubt
to a place where he is essentially saying
“God I know you are able to do what you say, but I just don't know how you are going to do it.”
And in a way, he is also asking for a sign from God.
2. This is where we enter into the second point of today,
that a covenant set in place by God,
needs to be confirmed by God. And we will see this confirmation occur throughout the remainder of this chapter.
Lets read:
He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the LORD said to Abram, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites."
God is ready to “seal the deal”,
sign on the dotted line,
make it official,
throw in whatever other terms you want to.
But remember,
there were no lawyers to draw up contracts,
and no wax seals with ring imprints
like during the medieval times,
no signet rings stamping approval
as you would in Rome.
People during this period needed a way
to make it official and binding.
There was no paper or any other
writing and they needed a way
in essence to seal it.
So the culture of the day found a way make a contract.
Or in this case as it was called, cut a covenant.
In “cutting a covenant”,
animals would be split in half,
and placed evenly on two sides,
with a path down the middle.
The blood would pool in the center area
and both parties involved
would come down the path.
And as they would walk down the
Middle, they would begin reciting
the covenant that they were to keep.
In doing this,
they were stating that if I failed
in keeping my end of the deal,
let what was done to the animals be done to me.
And so when God told Abram
to gather the animals,
he knew exactly what was coming next.
Abram faithfully sets it up
and keeps watch over it until
the evening hour when the covenant
would typically take place.
So God puts him to sleep,
and depending on your version,
Abram is overcome with a deep and dreadful
fear or a dreadful darkness.
He... has... come... into the presence of the Lord.
And like all people who enter that place,
they feel weight of their humanity upon themselves.
We see Isaiah in
“Woe is me, for I am undone!”
as he is overcome with
the same emotion as Abram,
just as Moses in
was afraid and hid his face.
This is a holy reverent fear
that we see Abram overcome with.
Matthew Henry writes “Holy fear prepares the soul for holy joy; the spirit of bondage makes way for the spirit of adoption. God wounds first, and then heals; humbles first, and then lifts up.”
And it is during this period
when Abram is overcome that
God is going to begin lifting him up
and setting him apart for His service.,
It is during this point that God
is laying it all out for him in
verses 13-16 and 18-21,
what is going to happen
to Abram’s line and future.
Abram is told he himself
will pass after a good long life.
He also is promised a land,
but that the land will not be given
to them until a lot of hardships pass
such as affliction and servanthood.
God promises 400 years of traveling
in a land that is not theirs.
Not sure about you,
but that doesnt all sound happy
and fun does it?
Something for us to think about is this,
that God’s promises are not always an easy.
There are hard roads
that we have to walk
when we follow and believe in God.
Scripture is very clear
that following God is not easy.
Verses like , , and
essentially guarantees that we will see
trials in our life.
But the thing to remember
when we go down the hard roads
as we live out God’s promise in our lives
is that it is far better… far far better
to be on the hard...
and tough road with God,
than the easy one in the world.
Look no further than Christ’s words
recorded in and 14.
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
And it is at this moment
we see one of the most beautiful
displays of love in the Bible.
And if we did not understand
what we are reading
we might miss it.
In verse 17,
with Abram most likely on his knees
and in a position of being
in the fear and awe of God,
watches God in the form of a holy
purifying fire pass down
through the path…. Alone.
This is God alone saying
that He will take on the
full weight of the covenant,
this is God saying to Abram
that he has no part in this
other than to continue
following and believing in
Him who sealed the deal.
This is God saying to Abram,
let what was done to these
animals be done to me the Holy,
Mighty, All Powerful God
who is Lord and Master over all Things,
Creator of the world
if I fail in faithfully keeping my
covenant with you Abram.
It was in this moment,
that a God who had been
silent and distant from
His creation for roughly 430 years,
became personally involved
with His people and began
the process of bringing
them back to Him.
3. As we enter into the final point here today,
we sitting here in the year 2018,
cannot fall into the trap
or line of thinking that the
Old Testament is something distant from us.
When you think about it timewise,
yes it is, in terms of our faith,
this passage is as near to us as yesterday.
And this is not just a covenant
that the physical line of Abraham are a part of.
This was the start of a God
drawing a people who were
destitute in their sin with
no hope of redemption
and destined for separation
from Him for all of eternity.
God Himself was building something
and it was not conditional upon us
doing, saying, going, serving.
It was not built upon the shaky
foundations that man is able to build.
No this is the solid unchanging
rock that God builds upon.
We read in that it was this
type of foundation that Abram sought out.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
Listen, Abraham is not a perfect man.
He certainly has his flaws,
we saw today that he had doubts,
he most certainly had fears,
he ran when the things got rough previously,
and he will mess up again.
But what makes him different
and an example to us today
is that through it all.
He never let go of the faith
that he had in his God.
He placed his faith in the person of God
and built himself up on the
foundations of the Holy One.
And for us, the very same God
who revealed Himself to Abram
calling out as “I am your shield”
and “I am the Lord”,
the very same God who generations later
revealed Himself to Moses as “I AM”,
is today revealing Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.
“I am the one true vine”,
“I am the way”,
“I am the truth”,
“ and I am the life”.
Just as Abram heard God and believed,
we too need to see how God is showing Himself
and do the same.
When we read and see God’s
“I am” statements,
for us as believers we need to follow
them with our “I believe”
Statement of faith
And when we truly believe in
and follow Christ,
we find ourselves counted
among the stars in the sky
and part of this promise given to Abram.
The Apostle Paul writes in
just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
In , Paul continues about our relationship to Abram through Christ.
But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
The very same God…
who was willing to take
full responsibility for the covenant with Abram,
the very same God...
who said to Abram
this is my unconditional love for you,
I am going to be real and personal.
I am going to guide and care for you,
I am not expecting you to do anything
other than be faithful and follow Me,
I am going to bear this weight
and let what was done
to these animals
be done unto me if I fail
in seeing my promises to you fulfilled.
That is the very same God
who 2000 years ago made it clear
that the only true path to salvation
lay through the Son as He revealed
Himself saying “I am the way”.
God is drawing people back
into a personal and real relationship with Him.
Our salvation and place in the family of God,
in much the same way as Abram,
is not dependant on you trying
to earn your way into it.
And if you think you need to get
your act straight, clean yourself up,
or prepare yourself prior to accepting Christ,
read .
Paul In these verses remind us
just how far gone we truly were.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
My dear brothers and sisters,
Apart from the Gospel message,
we could not now nor ever
do anything that would endear us
to God or get us ready.
We are a sin depraved people
without the Gospel message
flowing through our whole being.
That's why the God who took the oath
and went down the blood path that night,
is the very same God who sent
His Son to hang on the cross.
This time not walking on
the blood of animals to
seal the covenant, but shedding His.
All so mankind could fully be welcomed
into a personal and loving relationship with Him.
Christ’s shed blood on the cross
opened the door for a multitude
to be welcomed into promise
that was given to Abraham that day.
And because of the promise,
and the shed blood,
the Word of the Lord no longer
needs to come to people as we read.
The Word of the Lord now walked
and talked with people in the form of Jesus Christ.
The Word of the Lord no longer
needs to come to people,
because the Word of the Lord
now lives in each and every person
who calls upon the name of God
and accepts Christ into their life!
-pause-
As we close our time in the Word
and move to a time where we reflect
upon this message and respond,
I want to share two last
passages of Scripture with you.
The first coming from Christ’s brother James in chapter 2:23
"Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"—and he was called a friend of God.
And the second from Paul in ,
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.
You see, when Abram accepted
what God was doing and believed in Him fully,
as James writes, he was called a friend of God.
When we take the message of the cross
and the full forgiveness of sins that
comes through accepting that
Christ died and rose again for all mankind,
and apply it to our hearts and lives.
We are not called a friend of God
, no,
we are considered far greater than that.
We are called sons and daughters
of God the Most High.
We are not friend,
but family adopted into His family
and heir to the promise given.
Time of INVITATION!
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